U.S. Representative Val Demings continues to focus on addressing the growing needs related the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy in Washington now that VP nomination process is far in the rear view mirror. Demings has now introduced the Federal Disaster Housing Stability Act of 2020, which would apply an automatic eviction moratorium to all rental properties and foreclosure moratorium to all federally backed mortgages for locations under a federal declaration of an emergency.
“Disasters happen,” said Rep. Demings. “But evictions during a disaster don’t need to. We should not allow Americans to go homeless due to financial distress during an emergency. An eviction is not a natural disaster. We have the power to ensure that a natural disaster does not mean eviction for American families.”
The legislation would also tie federal eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to individual states’ unemployment levels during disaster declarations so that they last until after the economic damage from a disaster has stabilized.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency, various federal housing and housing finance agencies have extended foreclosure and eviction moratoriums on a short-term, month-to-month basis,” Rep. Demings added. “This fear and uncertainty has left millions of struggling homeowners and renters unsure about their ability to remain housed while unable to work. This legislation would provide stability and certainty for millions of renters and homeowners during future federal emergencies. As families struggle to get through this pandemic, we should have their backs.”
The National Housing Law Project, a nonprofit national housing and legal advocacy center established in 1968 with a mission is to advance housing justice for poor people, supports the legislation and believes it would trigger immediate action to help.
“The United States evictions crisis significantly predates the current pandemic, and advocates have been working for years to chip away at the problem through state and federal legislation,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director for the National Housing Law Project. “In this unprecedented moment, with as many as 30 million tenants facing eviction before the end of 2020, it has become even more clear that the U.S. has not been leveraging the power of the federal government to prevent exorbitant evictions, and that our housing system was not prepared for a national emergency. Representative Demings’ bill, the Federal Disaster Housing Stability Act, will trigger immediate action to prevent evictions in any future local, state, or national emergencies; preventing millions of homes lost, excessive homelessness following a crisis, and significant economic devastation to the housing market.”